PHARMACIST Katherine Porteous is a woman with first hand experience of the fertility drugs she dispenses to women in South Tyneside who are desperate to be mothers.
Mrs Porteous, a pharmacist at Asda, in South Shields, tried for four years to have baby Gabriella, who is now 11 months old, and had private IVF treatment to overcome fertility problems.
Now she is aiming to keep the costs down for other women in her position.
Asda runs a not-for-profit scheme for IVF medicines, which could save would-be parents up to £200 a cycle.
Mrs Porteous, aged 31, said: “I don’t think many women realise the service that Asda offers.
“If I had brought my medicine elsewhere for my first round of IVF it would have been £800 but, because I bought them though Asda, I got them for £648.
The supermarket giant sells the drugs VAT free and at trade price.
She added: “This might not seem a huge amount, but some families go through many rounds of IVF and it all adds up.”
Mrs Porteous and her husband Rob, 39, turned to IVF after two years of hospital procedures failed to help them conceive.
Because Mr Porteous has daughter, Jessica, 13, from a previous relationship, the couple weren’t entitled to free National Health Service IVF treatment.
She added: “It was frustrating that we couldn’t receive any help from the NHS.
“I felt it was unfair that I couldn’t get any treatment simply because Rob was already a dad, but that’s just the way it works for everyone.
“Instead we got help privately and, in total, the first round of IVF cost us £2,700. That includes the drugs from Asda.
“However, we were incredibly lucky. They harvested five eggs, two were implanted, one took and we now have Gabriella which is just amazing.
“She’s just the best thing ever.”
Mrs Porteous says she hopes more women will now call in at their local stores to ask for more information about the medicine.
She added: “It just seems silly for people to waste money during an already very costly time in their lives.
“It’s not well advertised and the more people that know about it the better.”